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“Where the hell did this place come from?” was the first thing I thought as I took a bite of banana cake. “Thank you baby Jesus!” was the second thing I thought as I took another. “$%!*!” was the third, as I realized I was headed back to Managua that very day. I immediately checked my pockets for money to see how many loaves of brick oven cheddar bread, chocolate chip cookies and banana cake I could afford to take back with me. I stocked up and returned to the MGA, deciding I was glad Pan de Vida wasn’t closer to home because if it was I would likely be fat and broke.


If you’re going through Jinotepe and are in need of some seriously good food then find your way to Layha’s Bistro and Lounge Bar. The last thing I expected to be ordering out of the eclectic decorated home was purshuto wrapped shrimp, the salmon and chicken mole also looked amazing. This was no ordinary restaurant in Jinotepe.

Kalua Café & Grill (Managua)

Kalua Café & Grill (Managua)
Kalua Café & Grill is a perfect place to meet with close friends and family. Whether discussing plans, events, or simply sharing a little gossip, Kalua has something to offer that you and your company will love. The menu options extend from salads to desserts, cappuccinos to chocolate shakes, smoothies to margaritas, and healthy wraps to delicious double burgers.

Review: Mesón Sur (Managua)

‘Off the beaten path’ of Carretera Sur you can find one of Managua’s ‘best kept secrets,’ the ‘diamond in the rough’ that is Mesón Sur. And although you may have trouble describing its location to a friend without resorting to clichés, there is nothing cliché about this unique Italian restaurant nestled in the hills overlooking Managua’s Laguna Nejapa.

Beatriz Fernandez Ferreira, the restaurant’s Italian-Argentinean owner, relishes in Mesón Sur’s reticent dignity, even saying that if her restaurant was full they wouldn’t be able to make their pizza as good as it is now. Everything is made from fresh natural ingredients. “Nature is our luxury,” Fernandez Ferreira says. And I would describe the pizza that comes out of the wood-fired oven the same way, simply luxurious.
The ambiance of the restaurant is decidedly tranquil. Soft jazz, Brazilian music, and an abundance of green plants, make the outdoor seating a great spot to relax and unwind with a glass of wine or a cold beer. Indoors, the walls are decorated with some of Fernandez Ferreira’s own paintings (her home and studio is located above the restaurant).

Mesón Sur is a great place to escape the city without actually leaving it. It’s a place for those times you feel like going out but don’t want to be crammed in a bar with loud 80’s music and tv’s; a place where you can have a slice of serenity with your slice of pizza.

Dir: carretera vieja Leon, km 9 1/2, del cementerio 750 mtrs al norte

Restaurant Review: PAU HANA (San Juan del Sur)

By Jonathan Jackson, Photography Silvio Balladares

With a reputation for some of the tastiest food in San Juan, Pau Hana is a great place to come for a cocktail, some munchies, or a full meal. Originally from Hawaii, owner Kenny is one of the friendliest and most laidback characters in San Juan – he’s also one hell of a chef. Pau Hana’s eclectic menu consists of some of Kenny’s favorite Hawaiian dishes, as well as delicious pastas, tempura fish stir fry, burgers and ribs with sweet, tangy Hawaiian barbeque sauce. For those days when it’s around noon and you’re still feeling the effects of last night’s party, try the ultimate Hawaiian hangover cure: order a Loco Moco and a cold beer and thank me later.

Pau Hana is located directly on the beachfront, 10 meters to the right of the Eskimo

Zacate Limón (Managua)

By Jonathan Jackson, Photography Chris Sataua

The clean, modern interior of Zacate Limón provides a pleasant ambiance to have breakfast, lunch or simply a good cup of coffee and slice of homemade cake. The flavors at Zacate Limón may take your taste buds out of Nicaragua but all the ingredients used to make these tasty treats are found right here. Everything from the balsamic vinegar to the hummus is a local product. The menu is decidedly casual, yet nothing is spared when it comes to quality and ingredients. You can’t go wrong with the golden waffles covered with fruit for breakfast or one of Limón’s juicy export grade burgers with cheese, bacon and marinated onions for lunch. And if there’s a better place for coffee drinks in Nicaragua, I have yet to find it, as the mocha frappuccino is otherworldly.

Address: Club Terraza 300 meters al Sur, El Tiangue módulo #2, Managua
Tel. 2255-0504

Chik Chak (Managua)

By Alberto Cuadra DelCarmen, Photography Chris Sataua

At kilometer 9 of Carretera Sur, in Managua, you will find this unique and comfortable restaurant. The amusing name, which gives personality to the place, is shared with its flagship dish, the Chik Chak, which is inspired by the onomatopoetic ‘chik-chak’ produced by the sound of its preparation.

The simple, yet elegant menu goes perfectly with the restaurant’s charming atmosphere making it an intimate place to spend an evening surrounded by soft lamp light and decorated with colorful bottles.

The proprietor and man behind the idea, Mr. Francesco Sensidoni Argüello, who’s always attentive of his guests and of the restaurant itself, offers family recipes of commonly known Italian dishes with surprising and clever twists. The cuisine is recognized for its mixture of fresh ingredients and meticulous presentation.

Open in the mornings, Chik Chak is in the words of Sensidoni Argüello, “like an Italian fritanga with excellent prices, a warm and friendly environment and an European style bar.”

Address: Carretera Sur, kilometer 9, detrás de la Esso Nejapa, Managua

Bambu Beach Club (San Juan del Sur)

By Jonathan Jackson, Photography by Silvio Balladares

The San Juan del Sur beachfront is lined with restaurants and bars, and while the names are different, the menus and ambiance are for the most part interchangeable. Bambu Beach Club is a notable exception. Opened just over a year ago, the restaurant/lounge brings a touch of South Beach to San Juan.

The menu features internationally and locally inspired cuisine that is always fresh and delicious with first class presentation. Some of the more delectible menu items include the grilled chicken sandwich on homemade bread with cilantro almond dressing; shrimp ceviche served on a banana leaf; cold rice salad with spiced beef and mango orange chutney and for desert, the house crepes filled with chocolate and ice cream are outstanding.

The laidback vibe of San Juan is reflected perfectly in Bambu’s tranquil and stylish environment. Sip on one of the many drink specials next to the pool or relax on one of the recliners and take in a beautiful San Juan sunset.

Not everyone who ventures to San Juan is looking for what Bambu offers, and for those who aren’t there are a multitude of other options, but for the traveler looking for a classy, upscale oceanfront experience, Bambu is the best game in town.

Bambu Beach Club is open daily from noon to 1 am.

Address: North end of the beach, San Juan del Sur
Tel: (505) 2568-2101